In this week’s issue, we chat with Shonen Knife frontwoman Naoko Yamano about her band’s current Ramen Adventure Tour. Here are a few local options if you’re in the mood for ramen:
Five & Ten used to do a weekly ramen night, with the best broth in town (rich with collagen and complex flavors from simmering on the stove for three days), but it’s shifted gears to pho and other soups lately. But there are still plenty of other local spots to get your fix, and this being Athens, vegetarian options abound.
Utage, in downtown Athens, does a bunch of different styles of ramen, available in a huge bowl for $10 or $11. You can pick your broth for each kind, including classic tonkotsu, but it doesn’t have the depth of flavor you might hope for. Add pork belly, fish cake, hard-boiled egg, corn, wakame, seafood, chicken and more.
Pulaski Heights BBQ does ramen on Wednesdays, starting at 5:30 p.m. Proudly inauthentic, it features a beautiful, soft poached egg, collard greens, nori, housemade bacon, pulled pork and/or barbecue tofu with sesame seeds. The collards produce a darker, tangier flavor than in a traditional broth, but the results are tasty and warming.
Seabear Oyster Bar makes a vegan ramen that is, against considerable odds, the best in town, available on Mondays starting at 3 p.m. until it runs out (usually early). They don’t do take-out on the dish, which is understandable when you see the beautiful presentation, with slices of lotus root bobbing perpendicularly in a delicate but flavorful broth. Thin-sliced radishes fan out across a segment of the surface, and sesame and mushroom flavors bloom in your mouth. It’s worth the effort.
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